WALKS IN KIELDER FOREST PART 3 - SIDWOOD AND THE BORDER REIVERS.
This walk is different from the above as it is at the edge of the forest and below the dam. It takes you well away from the main tourist areas and into a very different part of the forest.
From the 14th to the 16th century, the Reivers were the riding and raiding families on both sides of the English/Scottish Border. Back then, no man could sleep safely and no cattle could be left unguarded. They lived by stealing and the enemy was anyone outside your own clan. Centuries of warfare between the two countries had resulted in a lawless society where people just tried to survive. Riders, raiders, guerrilla fighters, and gangsters, the border reivers gave the words ‘bereaved’ and ‘blackmail’ to the English language. All that remains now are their fortified bastles and peles.
This way marked route takes you past some of their ruined bastles and peles. It is another cracking walk and, chances are, you won’t see anyone on it. There is some information here:
From Bellingham, drive to Lanehead. Turn right following signs to Greenhaugh. After Greenhaugh take the next left and then the next right for Redheugh. In the field opposite the farm is a dove cote. It is no longer used and you can look inside. There is a bit of information about it on p8 on the pdf downloadable from here:
• Park under the trees just inside the forest (see map on p8 above), and follow the footpath along the river with the deciduous forest to Sidwood. We’ve seen barn owls and foxes along this stretch. This will take 20-30 minutes.
• Drive along the road and park in the large grassy area near Sidwood. There is a sign in the car park about the Border Reivers Trail. After the house, turn right down the side of the wall to the river. The path follows the river and is a delightful walk. We love this. (Note the footbridge as you may come back this way). The footpath takes you to Waterhead.You have three choices here
(i) You can return the way you came.
(ii) You can either cross the river and walk along the road on the opposite side of the burn, visiting the ruins of Black Middens Bastle, which is a short walk up a field from the car park by the road.http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/days ... -research/
Continue on the road until the sharp bend and where the road climbs steeply. There is a signed footpath from the bend which follows the wall to the footbridge seen earlier. Then follow the trail back to the car.
This is about 2.5 miles. Allow 90minutes for this walk.
(iii) At Waterhead the trail continues up the valley. Do not cross the river. Stay on the road and the trail is signed off to the right. This takes you up the valley past the ruins of two more peles to Barty’s Pele. At this point the trail rejoins a forest road back to Sidwood. (Go straight over the first crossroad and straight on at the next junction.
If you want to follow the footpath back to the car, at the crossroads take the left turn which takes you back to Waterhead.
Alternatively follow (ii) above to see Black Middens.
This walk is 4 miles and you need to allow 2-3 hours for it, depending on how fast you walk, how many stops you make and which way you come back.
This is a delightful walk following the Tarsett Burn. A lot of it is through deciduous forest. This is always one of the first walks we do when we visit the North Tyne. If you are only wanting a short walk, we think the nicest bit is from the picnic site at Sidwood to the footbridge and back. This will take 30-40 minutes depending on how many stops you make.